Saturday, January 19, 2013

indeterminacy in the arts

Indeterminacy means, literally: not fixed, not settled, uncertain, indefinite. It means that you don't know where you are. How can it be otherwise, say the Buddhist teachings, since you have no fixed or inherent identity and are ceaselessly in process? Life is filled with uncertainty Chance events happen to all of us. Each of us must take responsibility and make decisions. None of us should be imposing our ego image on others.

There's another way to live. Accept indeterminacy as a principle, and you see your life in a new light, as a series of seemingly unrelated jewel-like stories within a dazzling setting of change and transformation. Recognize that you don't know where you stand, and you will begin to watch where you put your feet. That's when the path appears.

~ John Cage
from Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, 
Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists
by Kay Larson


Succulus by Robert Pepperell

Pepperell’s paintings and drawings are the result of intensive experimentation in materials and methods designed to evoke a very specific, though elusive, state of mind. The works induce a disrupted perceptual condition in which what we see cannot be matched with what we know. Instead of a recognizable depiction the viewer is presented with … a complex multiplicity of possible images, none of which ever finally resolves.
....his painting Succulus is very evocative for me of the figures, draped clothing, and sky on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, yet I can’t actually recognize any of that in the picture.


Aldous Huxley, in The Doors of Perception, describes the appearance of the world as modified by mescaline: “Visual perceptions are greatly intensified and the eye recovers some of the perceptual innocence of childhood, when the sensum was not immediately and automatically subordinated to the concept.”


erin said...

i went immediately to the sistine chapel, as well! without a thought! i equate this with the process of reading whole sentences when only fragments, or even only words fragments, exist. our mind writes the rest in. interesting how you bring huxley in after this. i am caused to look again and again to what is truly there, beneath that which i have painted in over years of conditioning, both from the outside and the inside.

is indeterminacy not also the cousin of humility?


Dean Keller said...

it's interesting to watch oneself "size up," or but into a "context." To see the automatic nature of the mind to define, and compare, thus to judge. How time spent just sitting with what's here, is not even recognized. Like the moments between notes or pauses between words, they are ignored as not useful. Yet within these are much of the sweetness and beauty.

humility is present as the boundaries of words and concepts disappear, as the, "I" concept weakens and disappears as well.

kenza lkheir said...
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